Iran admits some of its nuclear scientists spied for the West

Ali Akbar Salehi

Ali Akbar Salehi

A top-level Iranian government official has admitted that some scientists and technicians in Iran’s nuclear energy program were successfully lured into spying for Israeli and Western intelligence agencies in the past. The disclosure, which was characterized as “stunning” by the Associated Press, marked the first-ever open admission by the Iranian government that the country’s nuclear energy program has been penetrated by foreign spies. It was made last weekend by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Vice President and Director of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. According to the Iranian government-controlled Fars News Agency, Vice President Salehi told an audience that individual scientists and technicians working in Iran’s nuclear program had used their access to classified relevant information to benefit from “foreign purchases and commercial affairs”. The Fars report was vague and made no specific reference to the nature of the compromised information or the precise timing of the alleged espionage. But it did note that Mr. Salehi made clear that, although “[i]n the past personnel had easy access to information”, this “is not the case anymore now”. Iran’s Vice President went on to state that “[t]he possibility of information leaking is almost impossible now”. There is little doubt among experts that the CIA has been actively trying to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program since at least February of 2008, when US President George W. Bush authorized Langley to intensify its covert efforts against Tehran. It is also true that the US was able to partially sabotage Iran’s nuclear program by eliminating the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, and by employing scientific front companies and cooperative suppliers, who gave the Iranians faulty hardware. Earlier this motnh, Iran announced the arrest of an unspecified number of alleged nuclear spies, reportedly in connection with a sophisticated virus called Stuxnet, which infected computers used in Iran’s nuclear energy program.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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